Guidelines for principals

The following information will assist you if you are considering appointing an overseas-trained teacher from abroad. If you need assistance that is not covered here, please contact TeachNZ on 0800 165 225, weekdays between 8:30am and 5pm or email


Principals need to be aware that, before they can appoint an overseas teacher from abroad, (other than holders of Australian citizenship or Permanent Residency), they must be able to prove to Immigration New Zealand that a suitably qualified and registered NZ candidate could not be found.  The teacher must be registered in New Zealand and hold appropriate immigration status.

This can take the form of:

  • NZ citizenship
  • NZ Permanent residency
  • Work Visa
  • Young Person’s Working Holiday Visa.

More detail and information on restrictions is available at

Note: It is illegal to employ an overseas teacher who does not hold one of the above.

All levels of teaching have now been removed from Immigration New Zealand’s Skills Shortage List. Although “Special Education Teachers nec” (Conductive Education Practioner) is shown on the shortage list, this specialty is not school-based, and does not come under Ministry of Education Special Education.

A school considering appointment of an overseas-trained teacher from abroad will need to show Immigration New Zealand that it is unable to appoint a suitable teacher with New Zealand registration who is a citizen or permanent resident.

If the decision to appoint an overseas-trained teacher is made, principals are recommended to take the following steps:

  • Establish that no applicant with New Zealand registration who is a citizen or permanent resident is suitable.
  • Ensure that the position has been advertised in the Education Gazette and preferably also a local newspaper.
  • Check with Immigration New Zealand what other proof may be required.
  • Ensure that the teacher has had an International Qualifications Assessment (IQA) by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) or that their teaching qualification is on the pre-approved overseas teaching qualifications list. See the NZQA website for more details.
  • Ensure that the teacher holds current teacher registration and a practising certificate. Visit the Education Council website for more information.
  • Advise Work and Income New Zealand of the vacancy – this could save time later in the process.
  • Advise the applicant to apply to Immigration New Zealand for a work visa. For information on the types of visa available visit
  • Complete Immigration New Zealand form NZI 1113 (Employer Supplementary Form) and send it to the applicant. This form must be included in the teacher’s application for a work visa.

Note – we strongly recommend that the work visa be obtained before coming to New Zealand.

Completing Form NZI 1113 (Employers Supplementary Form)

Section B of this form can be confusing if not used regularly. We recommend the following suggestions for section B, which asks for details of the position:

B1 Primary or Secondary Teacher
B2 ANZSCO occupation title
  - Primary or Secondary Teacher
  ANZSCO occupation code
  - 241213 (primary) or 241411 (secondary)
  Skill level = 1
B3 School address
B4 The position is that of a mathematics teacher with teaching responsibilities for years 9-13
  The position is that of a classroom teacher with teaching responsibility for 8 year old students
B5 Salary and conditions of service will be by way of an individual employment contract with conditions similar to those set down in the Primary Teachers or Secondary Teachers Collective Agreement. The minimum salary will be step six, i.e, $44,348 per annum
B6 Full time
B7 Permanent (or include period of contract)
B8 University degree, graduate diploma of teaching (or equivalent as determined by the NZQA), and registration by the Education Council of Aotearoa New Zealand
B9 Only needs a brief statement relating to the position being offered
B10 Yes (note: evidence of registration must be provided)

Immigration New Zealand has emphasised that it will no longer accept partial applications, and incomplete applications will be returned to the applicant. This includes missing police certificates and teacher registration documents.

Other important immigration matters

  • All potential migrants from countries with high rates on TB, or with risk factors for TB, will require medical examination. Details are available at
  • Any work visa extension beyond 12 months will require the applicant to undergo a full medical, including X-rays. This will be at the applicant’s cost.
  • All persons who intend to stay in New Zealand for a total of more than 24 months must provide police certificates. Applicants aged 17 or over who are required to provide a police certificates must obtain them from their country of citizenship and from any country in which they have lived for five or more years. since the age of 17 years. Certificates must be less than six months old when the application is lodged.
  • For ongoing employment beyond three years, all overseas teachers (other than Australian citizens or permanent residents) would need to consider residency.

Other issues to consider

Training “on the job”

A number of overseas teachers are entering the profession by an employment based route e.g. Graduate Teacher Programme (GTP), Registered Teacher Programme (RTP), School Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT).

These teachers complete their teacher education while teaching. As they do not graduate with an academic award from an accredited institution at the completion of their programme, NZQA is unable to assess the study of such a programme. While these programmes may lead to Qualified Teaching Status (QTS), this is a status and not an academic award.

The Education Council has a discretionary pathway (Track 2) where the full Council considers registration applications for people without approved New Zealand teaching qualifications or an NZQA report that does not give comparability to a New Zealand teaching qualification. A person’s qualifications, teaching experience, appraisal material and professional development are taken into consideration as a package. When an application is considered in this way, there can be no prior assurances given about the final outcome until the Education Council makes its decision.

The Ministry of Education, for pay purposes, recognises all overseas trained teachers (primary and secondary) first registering with the Education Council since 22 February 2007 as satisfactorily trained to teach.

Principals receiving applications for teaching positions from people who have completed an employment based route should consult the Education Council and TeachNZ staff for current details.

Relief teaching for overseas teachers

Overseas teachers who are in New Zealand on visitor’s permits may only undertake relief teaching if:

  • they are registered and hold a current Education Council of Aotearoa New Zealand (previously New Zealand Teachers Council) practising certificate; and
  • they have applied to Immigration New Zealand and obtained a variation of conditions on their visitor’s visa.

Teachers on a Holiday Work Visa do not require such variation. Teachers on Working Holiday visas cannot be offered permanent employment.

Refer to the Immigration New Zealand website for current visa costs.

Immigration New Zealand is unlikely to approve an application where there is little possibility of at least four days work per week. Applications will need to be supported by a letter from the school(s), stating that the applicant will be employed as a relief teacher on an ‘as needed’ basis.

Other websites to suggest in your correspondence

TeachNZ – has comprehensive information on teaching in New Zealand and teacher education providers.

Te Kete Ipurangi – which provides comprehensive material for teachers, school managers and the wider community. For those teachers who have family accompanying them, the site lists all schools in New Zealand.

100% New Zealand – with information on the history and culture of New Zealand and other categories such as sights and events.

Stuff – has links to the main city and provincial newspapers as well as sections on a range of information such as property, weather, travel and entertainment.

Countdown – for a guide to the cost of food.

Real Estate – and for the property market. You may also want to include web addresses for local real estate firms.

Turners Car Auctions – for purchasing a vehicle.

New Zealand Teachers Council New Zealand Education Gazette New Zealand Qualifications Authority Immigration New Zealand